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490 council workers redeployed on coronavirus response, and fly-tipping cases increase 30 per cent

Published: Wednesday, 17th March 2021

Almost 500 city council workers have been redeployed to work in services to support residents, communities and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has revealed that 490 workers have moved from doing their regular job to support the response to the pandemic in the past 12 months, as the year anniversary of the first lockdown is set to be marked next Tuesday (23 March).

Council leader Abi Brown said: “It has been an incredibly tough 12 months, and we know that locally there have been more than 18,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 1,300 deaths reported at Royal Stoke and County hospitals.

“One of the many amazing things to come out of this pandemic is to see how local people have adapted and shown community spirit. This is most definitely true for many council workers. I’d like to thank all of our teams who have worked through the pandemic, providing important services for the city in really difficult circumstances.

“I particularly want to thank the 490 staff who have taken on new work specifically in response to the pandemic. They have filled really important roles, from taking contact tracing calls and working at our community test venues, to those who have trained as bin men and vitally those who are helping in our care settings. Many workers are still in their redeployed roles and we definitely could not have responded as quickly to support the city over the past year without their help. Some staff are considering career changes as they are enjoying their new roles so much.”

Meanwhile the council has revealed the scale of an increase in fly-tipping across the city during the 12 months since the start of the first lockdown. Between 23 March 2020 and today (17 March 2021), a total of 6,399 cases of fly-tipping have been reported to the council, compared to 4,990 for the same period the year before. That’s an increase of more than 30 per cent.

Councillor Brown said: “The lockdown has seen more people spending more time at home, producing more waste including general rubbish such as packaging from foods and goods, and waste from home renovation projects that people may not previously had time to do. The vast majority of people are responsible and dispose of their rubbish correctly. But from the rubbish that has been dumped, blighting our communities, there has been an increased amount of packaging and home DIY waste. It is unacceptable to dump waste in this way. Our crews have had to go out more often to tidy this mess away, diverting them from other work in the city. We will not tolerate this, and have increased enforcement action, tackling the culprits. Since lockdown began on 23 March 2020 to today (17 March 2021), we have issued 666 fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping, compared to 397 fines for the period 23 March 2019 – 23 March 2020. That’s an increase of more than 50 per cent. Fly-tipping will not be tolerated. If you witness it, please report it using the MyStoke App or by calling 01782 234234.”

Meanwhile coronavirus vaccinations will be available at two pop-up clinics at local mosques on Friday and Saturday. The clinics will be run by the NHS and are available at:

  • Friday 26 March PM at the Community Centre at Madina Masjid, Cobridge.
  • Saturday 27 March PM at Gillani Noor Masjid, Normacot.

Those aged 65 and over, frontline health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable can book their vaccination at one of the pop-up clinics. To book call 02475 267329 between 9.00am and 5.00pm. Please make sure the person booking has their NHS number to hand. All appointments must be pre-booked – no walk-ins will be accepted on the day.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “A total of 460,182 vaccines have now been delivered across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This is fantastic news. However, we know people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and worryingly, uptake for the vaccine in Stoke-on-Trent in these communities is generally lower than average.

“If you are aged 65 and over, a frontline health and social care worker or have received a letter from the NHS to say you are clinically extremely vulnerable, please book a vaccine appointment at your local mosque.

“Vaccinated people can still catch and transmit the virus but may be asymptomatic or experience milder symptoms. Protect your loved ones.

“The seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 92.4 per 100,000 people, for the week March 4 to March 10. This is a decrease of 11.9 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 3.5 per cent.

“If we want to make sure lockdown can be eased and we are out and about, then people must get tested once a week at least – the battle isn’t over yet. We all need to continue to get tested and to do so regularly.”

Information about testing at community sites across the city is available at: www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test. Testing is also available at 20 pharmacies across the city via: www.1centralhealth.co.uk/stokelft. Home testing kits are available for eligible people with no symptoms via national testing sites at:

  • Stoke City FC (Bet 365 Stadium)
  • Synectics Solutions Ltd (beside Port Vale FC)
  • Fenton Manor Sports Complex

Kits are also available online if residents cannot book a community test or are unable to collect from one of the national centres, via: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.